The 20th meeting of the Astana Format on Syria will begin today in the Kazakh capital. During the two-day meeting,
The 20th meeting of the Astana Format on Syria will begin today in the Kazakh capital.
During the two-day meeting, deputy foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, and Turkey are expected to discuss normalizing relations between Turkey and Syria. The Astana Format provides a forum for the three guarantor states of the Syrian peace—Russia, Iran, and Turkey—together with delegates from the Syrian government and opposition, to discuss socioeconomic and humanitarian issues, as well as state building. Representatives of the U.N., Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan will also attend.
The agenda includes negotiations on confidence-building measures, such as the release of hostages and search for missing persons, and improving the humanitarian situation in Syria. However, given the guarantors’ own lacking commitment to human rights, breakthroughs in this area are unlikely.
Expect Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to seek to prove his country’s ability as a peace broker, following his recent reelection. Therefore, this summit will likely conclude with plans for a full resumption of diplomatic relations between Syria and Turkey. This would advance Syria’s slow return to the international stage – only last month, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended the Arab League Summit for the first time since the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011.